There are only two reasons to do Cole Porter’s “Can-Can”—either having a really great lead dancer or a really great chanteuse. When you don’t have either one, you are left with “What were they thinking?” while you watch a hard-working cast go through the motions of trying to make this admittedly fluffy material work. Still, in the right hands—to say nothing of legs—“Can-Can” can evoke the mythical Paris of lore and make even those of us who have never been there be homesick for it. I had high hopes for how thrilling it would be to have the can-can energetically done in Circle Theatre’s small space but these dancers make the folks who do it at theme parks look virtuosic by comparison. And no, you don’t have to be a great singer to pull off Porter classics such as “I Love Paris” or “C’est Magnifique,” but at the very least you have to be able to get a lyric across with wit, style, sophistication and a world-weary sensuality that is, unfortunately, woefully lacking here. (Dennis Polkow)
At Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, (708)771-0700. This production is now closed.